“We hold that, if a tribunal or court found out that a candidate did not participate in any stage of the election process, the tribunal has no option other than to declare the next candidate with the highest number of votes, as the winner in the election,” the judge held.
The election petition tribunal in Kano state has sacked Shamsudeen Dambazau, son of the former minister of interior, as member representing Sumaila/Takai federal constituency of Kano in the lower chamber of the national assembly.
Dambazau, who did not contest the election but came second in the All Progressives Congress (APC) primary election, was sworn into the house of representatives after a federal high court in Kano disqualified Kawu Sumaila, a former presidential aide.
But in its ruling on Friday, the tribunal ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue certificate of return to Surajo Kanawa, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the election.
In the ruling, the three-man panel led by Onyekan Abdullahi upheld the decision of the supreme court on the matter, which disqualified Sumaila on the grounds that he did not participate in all the preliminary stages of the election processes.
“Consequently, Suraj Idris Kanawa, being the next candidate with the highest number of lawful votes cast is the right candidate to be declared the winner in the Takai/Sumail Federal House of Representatives election, held on March 23, 2019.
“Notice is hereby given to INEC to declare the First Petitioner, as the winner and issue a certificate of return to him.
“Suraj Idris Kanawa is, therefore, the winner of Takai/Sumaila Federal House of Representatives election, which the Tribunal has upheld.”
In his reaction, Nasir Aliyu, counsel to Sumaila, said as a law-abiding citizen, his client has accepted the ruling of the court.
Aliyu said his client has no plans to appeal the judgment.